Tofu and Alzheimers??

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by ollinger, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    It was interesting to hear a Lecturer in Nutrition at Harvard Medical School (Dr. W. Willett) discussing this issue on a metro-NYC radio station today. There are several published studies, including one out of Japan and one out of Indonesia, showing a correlation between tofu intake and dementia. Regrettably, the studies showed that higher intake of tofu was correlated with a higher risk of dementia. (Don't ask for references, as it was on the radio and specific citations were not made; for all I know they aren't yet available in English). Correlational studies are certainly not proof, but when several point in the same direction, they are reason for further investigation. What struck me about all of this is that certain foods like tofu have come to have iconic status lately, touted as the sort of thing you can barely eat enough of. Yet, as Willett noted, for tofu and other items sometimes referred to as superfoods (blueberries, broccoli, pomegranate......others), there is an absolute dearth of adequate data in humans about potential benefit or harm from diets rich in these items. The take-home lesson may be to eat a very varied diet with no one special emphasis. On his 102nd birthday, jazz great Eubie Blake was reminded that his own habits (smoked alot, drank alot, diet based on hedonism) were remarkable given his longevity. He replied "If I had known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself."
     
    #1
  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,059
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    I cut way back on my tofu (& soy) intake in the mid-1990s after hearing about a long-term study on Japanese-American men in the Hawai'ian Islands. The study indicated that there was a significant tofu-dementia link in that population. As I recall there was 2 theories on why regular, long-term tofu consumption appeared to result in mental decline and reduced brain weight.

    One theory put the blame on the high levels of phyto-estrogens (isoflavones) present in tofu and other soybean products. It is believed by some that humans, especially males, have a limted number of estrogen receptor sites. As the theory goes, if too many phyto-estrogens are consumed, they compete with real estrogen for those limited number of receptor sites.

    The other theory puts the blame on Aluminum. Raw soybeans appear to have some levels of aluminum present. The concentration of aluminum increases somewhat with cooking. Tofu is often (usually?) cooked in aluminum pots which appears to kick the Al levels very high.

    Honolulu Star-Bulletin story
    The tofu-Aluminum connection
    AMA journal article

    One of the most recent tofu studies was conducted on more than 700 Indonesian men. Here are a couple of news articles on that study:

    BBC News article
    Yahoo! News article
     
    #2
  3. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,561
    The Alzheimers-aluminum connection was debunked years ago. The plaques and tangles seen in aluminum toxicity have a different morphology (on electron microscopy) than those seen in Alzheimers.
     
    #3
  4. Sean Dugan

    Sean Dugan Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    163
    The way tofu tastes might make one wish for dementia. ;o)

    I would think tofu is much less of a culprit than the copious amounts of cigarettes that particular demographic tends to consume.

    Funny that tofu, which is often heralded for its supposed health benefits, might rot one's brain. Reminds me of that scene in Sleeper when the central character wakes up in the future only to be informed that saturated fat is the key to good health. ;o)
     
    #4
  5. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    Remarkably, there was a paper I saw in the past year suggesting that cigarette smoking may REDUCE the risk of Alzheimers. This may be less insane than it sounds because the brain receptors for acetylcholine (the neurotransmitter lost in Alzheimers are of two types -- muscarinic and nicotinic, the latter so named because nicotine binds to them in lab preparations. Could nicotine help prevent Alzheimers? Maybe we should all be chewing nicorettes.
     
    #5
  6. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,797
    Location:
    shiran
    People, including “scientists” always seem to jump from observing correlation to establishing a causative link. Tofu is tasteless, it is basically a filler like rice or potatoes. If someone is eating lots of tofu, there is already something out of wack, in my book. So if they tend to die sooner, it’s probably for the same reason that caused them to eat lots of tofu in the first place, not from eating tofu.
     
    #6
  7. Sean Dugan

    Sean Dugan Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    163
    Olli, at least in that case, one will be in full possession of one's faculties when the lung and/or esophageal cancer kicks in. Sobad, my recollection of tofu (tofu flashbacks? is that it is not so much tasteless, but rather, it simply tastes bad. Some people really like the stuff but not my cup of tea at all. It isn't completely horrible if seasoned with soy sauce but it is one of those items that one eats and then begins to question why one went to the trouble of eating it. I'd much rather have some salmon or a cheeseburger. As for me, tofu is something I would eat regularly if starvation was the only alternative.

    (Written while smoking a cig to combat the onset of dementia.) I don't really smoke cigarettes. Disgusting habit. Is it possible to smoke tofu?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #7
  8. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,797
    Location:
    shiran
    Are you seriously suggesting that tofu has taste? Does clean rice have taste? Do "young" potatoes have taste, if only boiled before eating? Does pure water have taste? Are you sure it is not an additive or a pollutant that you taste?
     
    #8
  9. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,274
    Location:
    1.d4
    I can't stand tofu.

    Yes, eat a varied diet rich in fruits and veggies, fish, chicken, some lean beef occasionally, and you might stay healthy.

    -Robert
     
    #9
  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,057
    But this is serious. Tofu is considered by many to be very healthy. I stopped taking regular milk a while ago and only take soy milk. Is this bad or what?
     
    #10
  11. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,274
    Location:
    1.d4
    Lots of people think milk is evil. I drink milk, eat cheese and eggs, and haven't dropped over yet. I also take some occasional soy protein. Not a lot, but a bit, as I like to vary my protein sources. Egg protein is good too, IMHO.

    I have no doubt that all of this will be turned on its head within the next 5 years, then re-turned in 10 years. Sort of like ties.... :) One of these days it will be ok to eat Twinkies, right?

    -Robert
     
    #11
  12. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    Beware of Twinkies!!!!! It turns out the shelf life of Twinkies is only something like three weeks, unlike most of this stuff that seems made to sit on shelves for years. Check the date stamped on the Twinkies! They could be the next Mexican jalapenos!!
     
    #12
  13. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    SoBad
    You need to watch more "Iron Chef". As Morimoto said after "Battle Soybean," "I want the judges to enjoy the exquisite taste of freshly made tofu." Exquisite??
     
    #13
  14. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,059
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    I had heard that some experts had nixed the Al-Alz connection. However, I've never heard anything conclusive about this. Do you have any credible sources that state unequivocally that the consumption of Al has no bearing on developing Alz?
     
    #14
  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,059
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    Soybean growers associations and the health food industry has aggressively marketed soybeans and soybean products as a healthy superfood. It appears that they may have oversold us all on this. The soybean's status as a wunder-food has been tarnished in the past few years. While moderate consumption of soy products might be beneficial, overconsumption may very well bring on a number of new health concerns.

    I believe that is was the Soybean Grower's Association of America that was a major player in demonizing tropical oils back in the 1980s. As a result, tropical oils were replaced in many foods with partially hydrogenated soybean oils. It is these modified soybean oils that are one of the primary sources of trans fats in our foods. These trans fats gave rise to an increase in cholesterol problems.

    Ironically, coconut oil and some of the other tropical oils have been found to have some health benefits. Some of these oils are currently being used to reduce or eliminate the trans fats in our foods.
     
    #15
  16. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,877
    Location:
    In a tent, along the Silk Road
    Fresh tofu (with some soy sauce) tastes pretty good. Call me weird, but I like the stuff. Plain, unseasoned tofu is like chicken or short grain rice-it has virtually no taste. But like those other foods, it can be made to take on a lot of flavors, all good...it all depends on what is used to season it.
     
    #16
  17. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    I've published in Alzheimers and did research in the field at Mt. Sinai years ago. The aluminum thing is well known among Alzheimers researchers to make no sense. As noted the neurofibrillary plaques and tangles caused by aluminum are NOT similar to those seen in Alzheimers.
     
    #17
  18. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    3,079
    Location:
    Sunny SoCal
    Recent research seems to point more to protein bases pathogens as a likely source of some dementia, such as Diffuse Lewy Bodies, etc.
     
    #18
  19. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,797
    Location:
    shiran
    What channel is that on? I only have NTV, Rossiya, RenTV and sometimes Kanal No. 1 (in the kitchen only).

    I agree - clean unseasoned tofu has no more taste than pure water.
     
    #19
  20. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    3,079
    Location:
    Sunny SoCal
    Hiyayako wa, totemo oishi desu neh! Soon dofu doesn't suck either, especially extra spicy. And agedashi tofu is so nice, washed down with icy cold nama beeru. *You don't know what you don't know.*
     
    #20
  21. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,737
    Location:
    CT
    Well that and that they probably will die of smoking related afflictions before they get Alzheimer's.
     
    #21
  22. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The whole margarine kick that started decades ago was a big scam by American agri-business to sell more product. Margarine is far worse for you than butter, and definitely worse than unprocessed coconut oil, which was demonized back in the early 90's.

    I've also never understood how a heavily processed product like soy protein has become such a staple in the diet of vegetarians. It doesn't taste good and it probably isn't that good for you.
     
    #22
  23. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,225
    Unprepared/seasoned Tofu is fairly neutral tasting compared to meat, which tastes horrible on its own. Both are prepared with other ingredients to make them enjoyable.

    Tofu is great in Thai dishes, and I'll take a Boca Burger over a beef patty any day.
     
    #23
  24. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Tofu doesn't give AD.
     
    #24
  25. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    Tofu doesn't give a damn??
     
    #25
  26. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    3,079
    Location:
    Sunny SoCal
    I'm hooked on Boca Burgers. Minimal fat, high protein, high fiber, low carb/sugars. I douse them in A-1.
     
    #26
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,057
    The reason for me moving out of milk is it made me feel heavy and gave me indigestion sometimes.
     
    #27

Share This Page